Month: December 2017

Happy New Year Round-Up and Preview!

Happy New Year Round-Up and Preview!

It’s Sunday again, but it’s also New Year’s Eve! 2018 brings a lot of big events for my family. My husband will turning over a new decade in March, my son will be graduating from high school and turning 18 in May, one of our nieces is getting married in August, and my husband and I will be celebrating our 20th anniversary in September. It also looks like several family members will be making the trek to North Dakota, for the first time, for the graduation so we might just have one big party to celebrate the whole year. So let’s look at my numbers as the year is ending and take a peek at what I planning on doing with books in 2018.

TBR – I added 1 book this week and finished 3, so the TBR ends 2017 at 277. To my knowledge there are no books winging their way to me and no outstanding NetGalley requests so I’m pretty confident in that number. This includes all the unread books I own, whether they be print, e-book or audiobook.

Goodreads Challenge – I slipped this year, only managing to complete 99 out of the 100 books I had challenged myself too. While I would like to think that I will finish one more before midnight, I know myself better than that. I will be setting a new 100 book challenge for 2018.

NetGalley score – Great progress was made here. I started the year at about 68% and I’m ending the year at 86% (no I did not just transpose the number). My goal for 2018 is to cross the 90% line.

Favorite Books of 2017

Mystery/Thriller – “Poison” by Galt Niederhoffer – this one continues to stick with me, I think because it felt so real.

Non-Fiction – I was absolutely fascinated by the story of “The Radium Girls” by Kate Moore.

Historical Fiction – Loved the characters in this story of a young immigrant working in the Carnegie household – “Carnegie’s Maid” by Marie Benedict.

General Fiction – The richness of the descriptions and the characters in this story just captivated me. – “The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds” by Selina Siak Chin Yoke.

Fantasy – No competition here, my favorite was “The Lost Sentinel” by Suzanne Rogerson.

Plans for 2018 – So, 100 books is the goal for the year. I have decided to pose myself a challenge of reading all the books in a series I love during the year. For 2018, I have chosen the Charlie Parker Series by John Connolly, #JohnConnollyChallenge. I read the first 2 books late in 2017. There are a total of 16 books at this time so that means a little more than 1 book a month, I can do that, right????

Finally, I would love your input on what books to read in 2018. Leave your suggestion in the Comments and I’ll incorporate them somewhere. I hope you all have a Happy New Year and that you read lots of books.

Happy Reading!

 

 

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“Private” by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro – Audiobook

“Private” by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro – Audiobook

Narrated by Peter Hermann

Jack Morgan is a former military helicopter pilot, the son of a convict, the brother of an evil twin, and head of Private Investigations. Private is a top-notch investigative agency, catering to the rich and famous. Jack has a world-class support team which includes Del Rio, Justine, Sci, and others. Jack is hired to find out who killed the wife of his long-time friend, this death hits him hard because he had introduced them. At the same time, his uncle hires him to investigate possible game-fixing within the NFL. As if these two investigations aren’t enough, Justine is hot on the trail of what appears to be a team of serial killers who are stalking high school girls. This is the first book in the “Private” series.

Jack is a man who is haunted by his past but nevertheless I found that I liked him a lot. He’s terrible with relationships but he keeps trying and seems to learn from his mistakes. Justine is great as the strong, female character and her not so friendly relationship with Nora, the cop, is fun to watch. Tracking three separate storylines in one book can be challenging but in this case I found that it all flowed together nicely, with smooth transitions from one investigation to the next. Since I listened to the audiobook version of this story the narration quality was very important. I think the narrator did a good job but I did find my mind wandering a little bit at times. Overall, this is another good thriller from James Patterson. I enjoyed the story and characters.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  3-5-star-rating  3.5 stars!

Happy Reading!

To order from Amazon US, click here.

To order from Amazon UK, click here.

To view on Goodreads, click here.

Weekly Round-Up 12/24/2017

I hope you all are enjoying the Christmas festivities. We are having a quiet Christmas at my house this year. There is snow on the ground and the air is COLD. I did get all my Christmas shopping done but a final trip to the grocery store will be required before the big day tomorrow. I think I’ve made some progress this week so let’s take a look at the numbers.

TBR – Apparently I didn’t add any books and I finished reading 2, so the total is now 278.

NetGalley score – I finished a couple of NetGalley books this week so this number went up to 86%.

Goodreads challenge – I’m beginning to think I may not be successful this year. I still need to finish 6 books in the next week and I don’t usually read quite that fast but we’ll see how it all turns out next week.

Coming up – I do have 6 books that I am working on, 2 are audiobooks, and they are “The Tea Planter’s Wife” by Dinah Jefferies. The Tea Planter's WifeThe Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins. The Girl on the TrainPrivate” by James Patterson (audiobook). PrivateBrave New World” by Aldous Huxley (audiobook). Brave New WorldA Treacherous Curse” by Deanna Raybourn. A Treacherous Curse And, “Kings of Georgian Britain” by Catherine Curzon. Kings of Georgian Britain So that’s what I’m shooting for and I’ll check in next week and let you know if got through them all.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year!

Happy Reading!

 

“The Broken Girls” by Simone St. James

“The Broken Girls” by Simone St. James

This book totally creeped me out! But in a delightful, beguiling way. The Amazon description of this story mentions that the school involved is rumored to be haunted; that is an understatement. Idlewild Hall is a school for girls that no one wants, and in 1950 one of them mysteriously disappears. In 1994 a young woman, daughter of a local celebrity, is found murdered on the playing field of the now abandoned school. In 2014, Fiona, that young woman’s sister, is now a journalist and after hearing that the school is to be restored, she can’t help but start her own investigation into the circumstances of her sister’s murder. As the restoration begins, a body is found in an old well on the property and Fiona now finds herself investigating two deaths. Fiona soon finds herself deep in the mystery of Idlewild Hall, but will she come out of it alive?

If you like paranormal or thrillers, you must read this book. I was so drawn into this story that I completely tuned out everything else. I love a book that can do that. The storyline is complex and twisty but it all flows really well and comes together brilliantly at the end. Fiona is a great character who’s a bit lost at the beginning but finds her way while working through her sister’s death. Her hunky boyfriend adds some romance and angst to the story, and has issues of his own to work through, but I enjoyed the relationship and the way he treated Fiona. There are a host of strong female characters woven into the story. The author has constructed the story so that it shifts back and forth between events in 1950 and the investigation in 2014 which in this case adds to the mystery. It seemed like every time Fiona was about to discover something the story would shift to 1950 and vice versa, so there is a constant sense of anticipation. Simone St. James is definitely going on my “I-want-more-from-this-author” list. You may live to regret it if you pass this one up!

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating 5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

To order from Amazon US, click here.

To view on Goodreads, click here.

“Goat Castle” by Karen L. Cox

“Goat Castle” by Karen L. Cox

A True Story of Murder, Race, and the Gothic South

The Gothic South, a place of romance and mystery, and Natchez, Mississippi is the epitome of the era. Residents are proud of their heritage and their beautiful houses that draw tourists from all over the country in the 1920’s and 30’s. But in 1932 an act of revenge plunges the town into the scandal of the decade, and leaves two people dead and an innocent black woman in prison, while the real perpetrators are free to profit from their notoriety.

This is a fascinating story and an excellent example of the Jim Crow laws of the era in action. I really appreciated the amount of background that the author gives the reader so that you really get a feel for why circumstances worked out the way they did. The reader gets the history of each of the main characters and a timeline that leads up to the events in 1932. The relationships between those involved are explored in order to understand how the actions of that fateful night came to happen. The Jim Crow era is a period of history that I think most Americans outside of the South know little about and probably because it is so unpleasant. But the author really expanded my knowledge with her descriptions of how the laws impacted both blacks and whites at the time. If you want a glimpse behind the veil of the Gothic South then take a look at this book. Well-written, well-organized and eye-opening.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  4-5-star-rating 4.5 stars!

Happy Reading!

To purchase on Amazon US, click here.

To purchase on Amazon UK, click here.

To view on Goodreads, click here.

“Dark Hollow” by John Connolly – Audiobook Review

“Dark Hollow” by John Connolly – Audiobook Review

Narrated by Jeff Harding

“Dark Hollow” is book 2 in the Charlie Parker series and Parker is back with a bang. He’s back in his hometown, fixing up the house he inherited from his grandfather. Charlie agrees to help a single mom collect child support from her ex. A seemingly straightforward task that will end up opening a Pandora’s box of a mystery. There is missing money, with everyone from the police to the mob looking for the thief, and then there are the missing girls and a mystery that has been unsolved for decades. Also making a return are Parker’s companions from book 1, and new to this story are an old love interest and a very jealous husband. There is a lot of action and a lot of creepiness in this book, and the backwoods of Maine make a perfect backdrop for it all.

I will admit to having a little crush on Charlie Parker and I am thoroughly enjoying this series. The story line is brilliant with lots of twists and turns. The characters are carefully crafted and those that return from the first book stay true to form. I love the paranormal aspects of these stories which heighten the excitement for me. Finally, the narrator did a fabulous job reading the book. I was amazed at how he was able to give each character, even the minor ones, a distinct voice. I can’t recommend this book and series highly enough.

Alinefromabook’s rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️  5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

To purchase this book on Amazon, click here.

To view on Goodreads, click here.

“The Intercept” by Dick Wolf

“The Intercept” by Dick Wolf

This is the first book in the Jeremy Fisk series and the author’s debut in fiction. The story is a post 9/11 thriller. Jeremy Fisk works in the Intel division of the NYPD. The division develops its own intelligence, independent of the FBI and CIA, but the various agencies also work together when needed. A group of passengers on an airline take down a terrorist who tries to take down the cockpit during a flight from Europe to New York. The 6 passengers become instant heroes in the press. Fisk’s partner Krina Gersten is assigned to the security detail as the passengers make the rounds of the morning shows and various public events, the culmination being the dedication of the new World Trade Center on July 4th. Fisk is busy investigating the hijacker and his gut tells him there’s more to this event than meets the eye. As the intelligence comes in, Fisk must put the clues together in time to avert another disaster.

This is a thriller with a well-crafted story to tell that explores our tendency to stereotype and jump to conclusions. I really liked Jeremy Fisk. He is a determined investigator who thinks outside the box when necessary. There is plenty of action and the story moves along at a brisk pace. I found the scenario to be believable and the action compelling. I would recommend this book for thrill or conspiracy lovers.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4 stars!!

Happy Reading!

To purchase on Amazon US, click here.

To purchase on Amazon UK, click here.

To view on Goodreads, click here.

Weekly Round-Up 12/17/2017

Greetings from a frigid North Dakota. We’re not quite to zero degrees but getting very close this week. My Christmas bread starts on Thursday and I can hardly wait. Two weeks of reading!!! Ok, a little holiday-making thrown in for variety. Let’s see what happened over the past week.

TBR – I added one book this week and finished reading 3 books (reviews coming). So new total is 282.

NetGalley – Score remains at 84%.

Goodreads Challenge – I am still 5 books behind but that’s because I haven’t yet updated by challenge for the 3 books I finished. So TECHNICALLY (as my son would say) I’m only 2 books behind.

Coming up – Reviews of “The Intercept” by Dick Wolf, The InterceptDark Hollow” by John Connolly, Dark Hollow and “Goat Castle” by Karen L. Cox. Goat Castle I’m currently reading “The Broken Girls” by Simone St. James, The Broken Girls and “Two Girls Down” by Louisa Luna. Two Girls Down

So that’s it for this week’s update. I’ll see you again next week!

Happy Reading!

 

“Accomplished in Murder” by Dara England

“Accomplished in Murder” by Dara England

This is a novelette and the first in the Accomplished Mysteries series. At 55 pages this is a short but interesting little murder mystery. Drucilla Winterbourne travels to Cornwall to visit her recently married friend at Blackridge House. When she arrives she is told that her friend has just died. She spends the next few days unraveling the mystery of her death.

Because of the length there’s not much room for character development, but nevertheless, I liked Drucilla. She’s got spunk and an inquisitive mind. The plot is an interesting one but the story plays out a little too quickly. That being said if you’re looking for something to fill an hour this story is not bad.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  ⭐️⭐️⭐️  3 stars!

Happy Reading!

To purchase from Amazon US, click here.

To purchase from Amazon UK, click here.

To view on Goodreads, click here.

“A Trace of Copper” by Anne Renwick

“A Trace of Copper” by Anne Renwick

Another journey into the steampunk world and this little book does not disappoint. I don’t read much in this genre but I cannot pass up an Anne Renwick story. This one is book 2 in the Elemental Web Tale series and at a little over 100 pages, is perfect if your short on time. The story is set in Wales and tells the story of Dr. Piyali Mukherji, an Indian woman who is a medical doctor and a Queen’s Agent, and Evan Tredegar, a pharmacist to whom she was once engaged. When a young lady develops an infection which is turning her skin blue, Dr. Piyali is sent to investigate. When she arrives in the Welsh village she finds herself in the presence of Evan whom she hasn’t seen in 4 years. Now they must find a cure and sort out their fractured relationship.

I really enjoyed these two and the side characters who are woven into the story. As with her other stories, the author has created characters with depth and humanity, and in some cases a little more than a touch of evil. I also enjoyed the village she created for the story. I was really drawn into the setting and the time period. As usual, there are some good science lessons incorporated also which lend an intellectual component. Great characters, a well-developed story line, and a charming setting all make for a story I highly recommend.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  4-5-star-rating 4.5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

To purchase on Amazon US click here.

To purchase on Amazon UK click here.

To view on Goodreads click here.

Thank you to the author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.